philosophy

Hummingbird and Passionflowers

by Howard Hain

 

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Martin Johnson Heade, “Hummingbird and Passionflowers”, (ca. 1875-85) (The Met)

 

The delicate little bird that resides within each of us.

It hops to and fro. It stands startlingly still.

Very often we are the very ones who chase it away.

But it doesn’t fly far.

Just to the closest branch, that’s just beyond our reach.

And it looks back at us, as if to ask, “Why are you afraid?”

The tiny head of a tiny bird, slightly cocked to the side—a question mark floats from its beak.

It longs to return, to live within us, to build a nest, to raise its young.

But it doesn’t rush back.

No, it waits.

It waits for us to ask for it to return.

It’s a patient creature, that tiny bird.

One may be tempted to say it’s not very smart, but that’s not it at all.

It’s simple. It’s holy. It knows who it is. It’s not afraid of the fall.


 

Howard Hain is a contemplative layman, husband, and father.

Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardDHain

twitter.com/HowardDHain

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Web Link: The Met Museum. Martin Johnson Heade, “Hummingbird and Passionflowers” (ca. 1875-85)

 

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